When we were putting together our annual Cutting Edge Designers series for BusinessWeek.com — which also appears in condensed form in the current issue of IN: Inside Innovation within BusinessWeek magazine — one possibly unusual resource I turned to for ideas was Creative Capital. The New York-based non-profit is known in the art world as an organization that offers grants to talented artists in various fields, from film to “new media” or digital art. But there are reasons why businesses should pay attention to Creative Capital’s grantees, because many of them could easily be tapped to work on imaginative design ideas for corporate projects.
In fact, some savvy companies already employ them. For example, a 2006 grantee, the Web artist Martin Wattenberg, is on staff at IBM. At Big Blue he works on data visualization projects, such as the recently released Many Eyes — a site where anyone can make quick and elegant graphs and encourage online discussion about the information presented. We featured Martin, who has also worked on interfaces for NASA and a stock-market visualization tool for Smart Money, as one of this year’s Cutting Edge designers.
Other Creative Capital grantees, such as the video-game designers Aureia Harvey and Michael Samyn, would be intriguing recruits or consultants for gaming companies looking for fresh design. The duo has experimented with rich, original plotlines and imagery.
For companies looking for the “next big thing” in design talent might want to check out who Creative Capital is supporting.